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  1. #1
    Senior Member asromzek's Avatar
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    Panniers And a Tent On The Way

    I couldn't help but take advantage of a 15% off REI coupon to order a set of yellow Ortlieb Backroller panniers which will be arriving tomorrow. I also ordered one of their Quarter Dome T3 tents which weighs about 5lbs packed. I'm trying to talk the lady friend into riding up to where my parents are camping (about 60 miles one way) and back over the weekend. If she'll agree to it, it'll be my first kinda/sorta tour, lightly loaded. I have until saturday morning (5 days from now) to decide if we're in good enough shape to ride. We haven't ridden more than 20 miles at a time, so tripling the distance is a little daunting.

    It's not so much about being in shape to pedal, as much as comfort level on the stock Randonee saddles. I also found that my handle bars were too low over the weekend. My wrists were going numb after about 3 miles. I ended up raising the adjustable stem all the way up and added a small spacer (stolen from my mountain bike) to really boost the height. Hopefully that and a few saddle adjustments will make for a more comfortable ride, until I can afford a brooks... or two...

  2. #2
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Sounds exciting! I have the same setup - a Randonee and a quarter dome. I found that the stock saddle is pretty good, although a Brooks is far better. Do you have a route you can show us?

    If you decide that the distance is too great, you can drive a little bit of the distance, park, and bike from there.
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    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  3. #3
    Senior Member asromzek's Avatar
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    If I need someone to rescue us, I have several options. It wouldn't take more than an hour drive depending on who came to pick us up. One of the advantages of riding close to home! My saddle feels fine even after 15 miles, but my handle bars were the issue, which I hope to have figured out after the last adjustment. The lady has issues with her saddle after a few miles, so I have a feeling I'll be adjusting a few times along the way.

    As far as getting the tent ready to camp, is there any conditioning needed? The only suggestion I've had so far is to get some seam sealant. I've been using a cheapo coleman tent for the last several years and never did anything special to it. My parents always scotchguarded their tents when I was younger.

  4. #4
    Senior Member asromzek's Avatar
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    I'll try to get a route planned out tonight. There aren't very many good paved roads to choose from, so traffic in certain areas may be an issue. Dirt roads are plentiful, but I've already found that riding on gravel isn't very fun for more than a few miles.

  5. #5
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    It sounds like you are biting off a bit much. 20 miles is a long way from 60 and back to back 60 mile days makes it worse. I wouldn't be too concerned, but the way you describe the saddle and handlebar issues, it sounds like you both probably don't have much saddle time in. 60 miles isn't really all that much if you have been riding 20 miles several times a week, but if haven't spent enough time in the saddle it might be miserable. It is more sensible to ease into longer mileage a bit at a time.

    All that said since you have a bail out plan you can always do shorter days if it turns out you need to. Take an easy pace and take a break fairly often. Eat and drink before thirsty or hungry.

    Just don't let it spoil riding for you if you find it was a bit much. In any case I hope you have a great trip.

    Edit: Forgot to add... Let us know how it works out.
    Last edited by staehpj1; 08-25-08 at 01:20 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member asromzek's Avatar
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    We were planning on riding several times this week, adding to the mileage each time and working out the kinks with her saddle position. If we're not comfortable on friday then we probably won't make the full trip.

    I already have a side plan to launch from about half the distance if necessary.

  7. #7
    Senior Member asromzek's Avatar
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    Just got back from a 20 mile trip around town. Since I don't have a bicycle computer, my gps logged the mileage and average speed. Our moving average ended up being about 9.6 mph with a 30 minute stop about half way through to refuel at Hooters. The handlebar adjustments on my bike made a world of difference, and I adjusted the lady's saddle twice in the first 5 miles before getting it right. After that we were both very comfortable until the last 5 miles when we realized that we were going to need some more comfortable clothing for the saddle region. Neither one of us were tired at the end and I'm sure we could go for at least twice the distance, as long as we can get our rear ends a little more comfortable in the saddle.

    Oh, and with about 7 miles left to go in the trip, I forgot that I had left a bungie cord hanging on her rear rack, and it got caught up in the rear wheel. That made a lot of racket and I had to use some pliers to get the hook untangled from the spokes. Luckily, the wheel looked ok and it rode find the rest of the trip, but I learned a valuable lesson about making sure things are strapped down tight before taking off.

  8. #8
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asromzek View Post
    Just got back from a 20 mile trip around town. Since I don't have a bicycle computer, my gps logged the mileage and average speed. Our moving average ended up being about 9.6 mph with a 30 minute stop about half way through to refuel at Hooters. The handlebar adjustments on my bike made a world of difference, and I adjusted the lady's saddle twice in the first 5 miles before getting it right. After that we were both very comfortable until the last 5 miles when we realized that we were going to need some more comfortable clothing for the saddle region. Neither one of us were tired at the end and I'm sure we could go for at least twice the distance, as long as we can get our rear ends a little more comfortable in the saddle.

    Oh, and with about 7 miles left to go in the trip, I forgot that I had left a bungie cord hanging on her rear rack, and it got caught up in the rear wheel. That made a lot of racket and I had to use some pliers to get the hook untangled from the spokes. Luckily, the wheel looked ok and it rode find the rest of the trip, but I learned a valuable lesson about making sure things are strapped down tight before taking off.
    Sounds like you had a good ride. You're very lucky about the bungee cord; that happened to me once, and the cord got caught in the drivetrain.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Skyler_WA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asromzek View Post
    As far as getting the tent ready to camp, is there any conditioning needed? The only suggestion I've had so far is to get some seam sealant.
    REI sells their tents in ready-to-use condition. No seam sealant or scotchguard required.

  10. #10
    Senior Member asromzek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyler_WA View Post
    REI sells their tents in ready-to-use condition. No seam sealant or scotchguard required.
    Awesome, got the tent in the mail today but didn't have enough time to play with it yet. It's a little longer than I remember it in the store, but it fits on the rear rack well. I should be ready to go for labor day this weekend on the camping end of things, but I don't know if my rear end will be able to handle more than a 20 miles on the saddle. We tried riding a little tonight and we're both somewhat soar from the tour around town last night. I think it's a combination of being somewhat new to riding longer distances, poor clothing choices (which the lady solved by getting a nice set of bicycle shorts, and which I have yet to do) and a need for some slight saddle adjustments (almost there!). I'm thinking about launching from the half way point to see what it's like to ride with a light load. I got a set of Ortlieb Back Roller panniers in the mail today for me, and a second set will be here tomorrow for the lady's bike. Hopefully we can pull off the trip, but I may need to sit on some ice or a heating pad for the rest of the night...

  11. #11
    Senior Member asromzek's Avatar
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    Ah... why not... two new Brooks B-17 saddles are on the way...

    Oops

  12. #12
    weirdo
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    15% off cupon? I looked all through that Labor Day sale flyer that came out and I didn`t see one. Did I miss it, or is it somewhere else?

  13. #13
    Senior Member asromzek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    15% off cupon? I looked all through that Labor Day sale flyer that came out and I didn`t see one. Did I miss it, or is it somewhere else?
    We both got a 15% off coupon code for signing up for REI memberships 2 weeks ago. The panniers weren't really on sale, but that coupon tempted me into getting them.

  14. #14
    weirdo
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    Oh. Well, I`m glad you found a good way to take advantage of your cupons.

  15. #15
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asromzek View Post
    Just got back from a 20 mile trip around town. Since I don't have a bicycle computer, my gps logged the mileage and average speed. Our moving average ended up being about 9.6 mph with a 30 minute stop about half way through to refuel at Hooters. The handlebar adjustments on my bike made a world of difference, and I adjusted the lady's saddle twice in the first 5 miles before getting it right. After that we were both very comfortable until the last 5 miles when we realized that we were going to need some more comfortable clothing for the saddle region. Neither one of us were tired at the end and I'm sure we could go for at least twice the distance, as long as we can get our rear ends a little more comfortable in the saddle.
    Sounds like you are having fun.

    Let me say this... Adjustments to the saddle may help and good bike shorts may help, but the real key is time in the saddle. That time needs to be built slowly enough that you never get too sore. If you push too hard too soon it is counter productive.

    On the Brooks saddle thing... despite the magical qualities people here seem inclined to attribute to them, it is just a saddle. It may be the best choice for some, but it is just a saddle. Probably thousands of people have ridden coast to coast or longer trips with other saddles, often the ones that came with their bikes. I know that my two companions and I were just fine with the saddles that came on our relatively low priced touring bikes on our TransAmerica and on our shorter rides. I could happily ride coast to coast on any of the saddles that came with the bikes that I own. The key is not saddle choice as much as conditioning and proper bike position.

  16. #16
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Sounds like you are having fun.

    Let me say this... Adjustments to the saddle may help and good bike shorts may help, but the real key is time in the saddle. That time needs to be built slowly enough that you never get too sore. If you push too hard too soon it is counter productive.

    On the Brooks saddle thing... despite the magical qualities people here seem inclined to attribute to them, it is just a saddle. It may be the best choice for some, but it is just a saddle. Probably thousands of people have ridden coast to coast or longer trips with other saddles, often the ones that came with their bikes. I know that my two companions and I were just fine with the saddles that came on our relatively low priced touring bikes on our TransAmerica and on our shorter rides. I could happily ride coast to coast on any of the saddles that came with the bikes that I own. The key is not saddle choice as much as conditioning and proper bike position.
    I respectfully disagree. I've noticed that saddle choice is just as important as time in the saddle, and is often the difference between reasonably and very comforable.
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    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  17. #17
    Senior Member asromzek's Avatar
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    I bought the Brooks saddles from Wallingford Bikes with the intention of returning them if they don't work out (I can't help but give them a shot). Most of the discomfort was due to poor clothing that began to rub the wrong way. The lady solved this by getting a nice pair of padded bicycle shorts which she said helped immensely on a short ride last night. She tried 2 pair of cheaper shorts and then a 3rd pair that was twice the price and 10x as comfortable. I'm not a big fan of padded shorts which is why I'd like to try out a leather saddle with some unpadded clothing, which I have yet to find. I don't think it was necessary to get her a Brooks, and if she doesn't like it I'll probably return it, or try a different model than the B.17.

  18. #18
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    That is certainly your prerogative and you are definitely not alone in that opinion.

    I acknowledge that saddle choice is a very individual thing and that the Brooks works very well for some riders. That said, I think that a rider who has not put in at least a reasonable amount of base miles should probably not be assuming that the problem is one of saddle choice. The fact of the matter is that it takes some mile before you are likely to be comfortable on long rides with ANY saddle.

    Edit: This was in response to neilfein

  19. #19
    Senior Member asromzek's Avatar
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    Well, the panniers are here, mounted on both bikes. And the tent is sitting on my rear rack. As soon as the saddles arrive and her pedals show up later this week, we should be able to start some short tours to get everything really broken in before winter.
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